World of Sport

Sunderland pay Miliband £125k for 15 days work

Labour politician David Miliband has been paid £125,000 for 15 days of work at Premier League club Sunderland.

The former foreign secretary was named non-executive vice chairman of the club in 2011 but has only actually clocked in just over a fortnight's worth of work.

Looking at his salary pro-rata – that would be the same as £42,000-a-week or £2.1million a year, putting him on a higher wage than many players at the club; for example, French international striker Louis Saha earns £40,000-a-week.

The South Shields Labour MP, who is an Arsenal fan, has registered £985,315 worth of outside earnings since the 2010 Labour leadership election which he lost to brother Ed.

Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps told the Mail that he was far from impressed with the salary Sunderland are paying Miliband.

“With a fee like that you’d expect to see David Miliband on the pitch! Per appearance, he’s on a par with players like Saha. Sunderland should red card this behaviour,” he said.

A spokesman for Miliband said: "Outside earnings are submitted to the register of members’ interests which is rightly available to the public to view."

Miliband was appointed by former Black Cats chairman Niall Quinn in February 2011.

Quinn said at the time: "We are delighted and honoured to welcome David to Sunderland and I am certain he can bring an extra dimension to us as a club.

"He is already a great champion of our ethos of community involvement and will be a fabulous asset on this front."

Miliband's MP salary is around £65,000-a-year but he has padded that by working for Sunderland, the London Speaker Bureau, United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs and energy investment firm VantagePoint Capital Partners

Miliband is entitled to take up other jobs while serving as an MP but Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance said it can sometimes cause problems.

"MPs can have outside interests if they're declared, but it becomes an issue when it impacts on their constituency and parliamentary work," he said.

"Taxpayers expect their MP to help solve local problems and represent their interests in Westminster, not jet off around the globe picking up huge pay cheques they can only dream of.

"The only way that constituents can have a proper check on the behaviour of their MP is to introduce the right to recall them at any time during their term. That would mean politicians were out fighting for taxpayers' interests rather than their own."